November 30, 2007

The Nordstrom Piano

Reverend Billy might suggest that the decision to discontinue live piano music in select Nordstrom stores is an indicator of the coming "shopocalypse".

For some, this is like McDonalds taking down the Golden Arches, or Nike removing the swoosh from their shoes. The decision erodes the story the consumer tells herself about why she chooses one retailer over another.

I detest it when bloggers indiscriminately rip big companies in the name of generating additional "subscribers" ... I mean, really, how different is that from when big companies make bad decisions in the name of shareholder value? Real people, good people, work at big companies, doing good things. I don't like to see these people harmed.

I also detest it when big companies indiscriminately humble the very consumers they depend upon for their existence, exploit low-wage workers to satisfy shareholders, or slowly deviate from the things that made them special, different.

Do we buy from a retailer because they hire a person to play piano? Do we buy from a retailer because they meet a need at an acceptable price? Do we buy from a retailer because they are nearby and convenient? Do we buy from a retailer because the employees treat you well?

Or do we buy because of the way these factors "interact" with each other?

Most likely, it is the latter. And nobody is smart enough to forecast how one factor interacts with another. We just wait and see.